I have a secret.
I don’t own any Prince albums. I have not seen Purple Rain. I do not have a fond memory of intimacy with his songs playing in the background. I might be able to identify a song on the radio. Suffice to say, Prince has never been at the top of my list in musical artists.
When a celebrity passes, we contemplate on how that person affected our lives, ideas, and perspectives. Social media explodes with tributes and messages of sadness towards a person who most have likely never have met, yet was a larger than life entity who had such an impact on their lives. I certainly came to question the effect Prince has had on my existence.
It rained a day after the news of Prince’s passing. I often find myself listening to blues, jazz, and various love songs on days like this. I guess you could say that rainy days bring out the romantic in me. One of my favorite artists for this occasion is Corinne Bailey Rae. Pandora offered up a great selection that night, with a gem of a song that put it all in perspective. A cover of Prince’s I Want To Be Your Lover, sung by Corinne Bailey Rae. Even if Prince was not a major influence in my musical life, he certainly was with most of the artists and musicians I hold dear, shaping the very ideas and foundations of the various music that I enjoy.
The influence of Prince is endearing not only in the music he created, but also in the music of other artists who looked up to him and they very culture with which we live. His influences are intersectional; Prince was seen as a pioneer in gender expression for people across the world and an influence for people of color who didn’t feel that they fit in.
Learning all this inspires me to check out his music and experience the appreciation and love by those around me. Where do you recommend a newcomer to Prince to start? Tell us about the album or albums that are so influential in your life in the comments as well as any recommendations for those of us belatedly hopping on the Prince train.